What do you think of apkmirror.com?

Hi community!

What is marvelous with a « complete fair » phone is that it let’s you do really what you want: you own your device. I want to speak here about the use of the new open source fairphone OS. What is cool is the feeling to not be dependant of google.

That say, in many case we may want to install big known applications because… because we want or have to. But without playstore and google apps service it becomes a little tricky.

Last night I wanted to install goodreads. After a lot of search, I found many various alternate stores, with which I feel not very confortable. Some others seems clean, but as always kinda closed or not very respectful of my privacy (yandex, amazon…). Then, I felt on apkmirror.com

It seems to be exactly what I need: a simple website on which you found the apk of all major applications and install them without having to give a mail, phone number, soul or other stuff I care about.

My question is: what do you think of it: is it a good site or have you heard about virus, trojan, malware etc. coming from (re)packaged application found on this site ? Are they really honnest or is it just apparence?

Thank you very much for your advices.

I don’t think there’s been much mention of that site on the forum (though people occasionally seem to mention they downloaded something, it doesn’t appear to be that popular). You may interested in the topic linked below, as despite it being related to the FP1 there is some discussion about different app stores. The evozi downloader appears be used by quite some people here.

The renowned German computer magazine c’t stated in its issue 02/2016 that apkmirror.com (run by the american Android news site Android Police) is the trustworthiest of these download pages.

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My favorite way of downloading APKs from Google Play is Raccoon which also some people here in the forum use. It has the advantage that you are downloading directly from Google Play to your computer, so you do not have to trust any third party.

F-Droid is the only free software, thus fair, Android repository I know of. It also fulfils my needs.

I don’t know this site, but one issue springs to mind.
Do they offer apps that are available from Google Play? If so, does that include apps that are normally payed for? How do they deal with payments for the app, in-app purchase and ads? The thing is, if an app is available through Google Play and generates revenue for the author that way, then distributing that app without getting payment to the author pretty much counts as piracy.

They’re sharing only free app. Nothing about piracy there.

For the updates, it’s fully secure since this APK is signed by the authoor and upgrades your existing app.
The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way.

As they explain:

If I install an APK from this website, will I be able to update the app from the Play Store?
Yes, absolutely. The Play Store installs APKs it downloads from
Google’s servers, and sideloading from a site like APKMirror.com goes
through a very similar process, except you’re the one performing the
downloading and initiating the installation (sideloading).
As soon as the Play Store finds a version of the app newer than the one you’ve sideloaded, it will commence an update.
What measures do you take to make sure all uploaded APKs are real and created by the respective developers?
All APKMirror.com uploads are verified prior to publishing.We make sure that the cryptographic signatures for
new versions of all previously published apps match the original ones,
which means we know if uploaded APKs were signed by the real devs or
someone pretending to be them.a. For new apps that have never been uploaded to APKMirror.com, we
try to match the signatures to other existing apps by the same
developer. If there’s a match, it means that the same key was used to
sign a previously known legitimate app, therefore validating the new
upload.

b. If we see no matches, we try to obtain and compare to a version of
the same app from the Play Store or another verified location. If it’s a
beta, we will try to get into it. If we can’t, we will attempt
to contact the developer.

c. If we’re unable to verify the legitimacy of a new APK, we will simply not publish it.

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I only use it for downloading pre-release versions or updates which are not pushed to the Play Store yet.

Thank you all for your answers. I did not know half the names you provided, it is always good to know some alternatives. For now apkmirror seems ok for me too, I think I’ll continue to use it as source for my two-not-on-f-droid apps.

Continue at #livingwogoogle